When Serving Was Hard

“When Serving Was Hard,” Liahona, July 2018

When Serving Was Hard

The author lives in Santiago, Philippines.

How could I take care of someone with such a difficult attitude?

Caring for the Elderly

Illustrations by Chris Thornock

One of the most challenging things I’ve ever overcome was my “I don’t care” attitude. If I wasn’t passionate about what I was doing, I was cold and impatient with people.

This all changed one school break when I was asked to care for my 76-year-old grandfather. “Dadi,” as we called him, had suffered a stroke, which left him half-paralyzed. When my family asked me to care for him for two months, I couldn’t even imagine how!

I had to wake up early to prepare his breakfast, his bath, and his medicine. I helped him walk around for his daily exercise. Since he had difficulty moving, I was by his side at all times, including during his bath and his toilet. As an 18-year-old girl, this was the hardest part.

Aside from all this, he was difficult to be with. He is not a member of the Church and has different principles than I do. He was a man full of regrets—always shouting, never smiling, and constantly saying, “I’m dying!” Because of this attitude, it was hard for us to share a good bond.

At first, I did all I could to avoid my tasks, but that didn’t work. So I decided to change my attitude and give my best effort.

After a week of this new attitude, serving Dadi became a joy to me. My patience grew, and I came to understand his affliction. As I served him, I stopped thinking of being with him as a burden but rather as an opportunity to create good times with him.

Dadi changed too. This frowning old man became a smiling, gentle grandpa. He even came to like listening to Especially for Youth songs!

One night I heard him making some noise, so I looked into his room to find out what he was doing. He was praying for the first time. I’m inspired every day by this change.

Now I’m back at college, but I still go twice a month to visit Dadi with my family. We eat with him and sing for him. His health has worsened, so now the most powerful help that I can give is prayers on his behalf.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to watch over Dadi because it helped me see what I’m capable of giving. Love is a very powerful thing—it softened both my heart and Dadi’s. I have learned the meaning of sacrifice and compassion. Truly, charity enlightens every heart!